Both Afghanistan and Sri Lanka lost their first match against Australia and New Zealand respectively. No need to wonder as the results are already expected. Today they are facing against each other at Sofia gardens, Cardiff today and both the teams are aiming to open their winning account in this match. Despite losing both the teams have their own concerns but for Afghanistan problem seems to be minimum. As their batting order has posted the 200-plus scores against might Aussie bowling line-up in their last game. If they have fielded properly they would have given some tough fight for defending champions in that game. As their batsmen are in top form they will look to replicate the same performance against Sri Lanka today. Their major concern is their spin bowling which is considered as their major weapon. Two spinners both Rashid and Mujeeb leaked runs and Rashid made a comeback in the later part of the innings and took the wicket of Usman Khawaja. If they can able to bowl up to their potential they are the team to beat
Srilanka on the other hand is a team under transition. Their batting was exposed clearly against the quality bowling attack against New Zealand. They have plenty of problems to address as their batting, bowling and field department fails miserably at crucial junctions of the match. With strong bowling line-up in hand Afghanistan will look to expose Sri Lanka’s weakness. So they have to turn things quickly in order to have a decent outing in this world cup.
As Afghanistan is a late entrant to international cricket scene they don’t have much history against Srilanka in world cups. Both the teams have met each other only once in 2015 and Sri Lanka won the match considerably with 3 wickets to spare.
Cardiff pitch traditionally provides assistance to bowlers but today the pitch looks bald and seems there will be lots of room for the batsmen. With cracks not getting wider you can expect a decent run scoring game today.
Expected playing X1:
Gulbadin Naib(capt), Mohammed Shahzad, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar afghan, Mohammed Nabi, Hashmatullah Shahidi Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran Aftab Alam, Mujeeb ur Rahman
Dimuth Karunaratne(capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhanajeya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis,, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga
Players to watch out for:
Touted as the Chris Gayle of Afghanistan cricket team Zazai is in sublime form this year. The last match hasn’t tuned out in his favour. But you can’t keep him out of contention. Afghanistan will look out his to provide a decent start which helps them to post a competitive total.
It seems Rashid Khan has not found his rhythm in initial overs but come back strongly in his second spell. He is one of the premium bowlers across the world and he will look to consolidate that name with a strong performance against Sri Lanka today.
One of the talented and experienced hands in Sri Lanka batting line Angelo Mathews can provide a solid base in the middle overs and his ability to accelerate will help Sri Lanka to post a good score against Afghanistan today.
Another talented wicket-keeper batsmen and already showcased his merits in test arena will be looking to repeat the same performance in this world cup which will help Sri Lanka to make this campaign in a decent note.
What to expect:
With both the teams are equally poised on the paper team that performs well I ground can pull off a victory at the same time batting first is an added advantage.